To call Kyle Larson’s run a roller coaster day would be an understatement.
He dropped to the rear for the initial start, because his car failed pre-race inspection three times. Starting 38th, he was up to 36th after caution flew for the first time on the third lap. He worked his way up to 28th, when Corey LaJoie’s blown engine brought out the caution on Lap 21.
Larson and Alex Bowman opted to stay out while the leaders pitted, and restarted second. He spun his tires on the restart and briefly held up the inside line. While he recovered and held off Keselowski’s attempt to get him loose on Lap 35 and Lap 39, he couldn’t do it a third time and Keselowski usurped him for second in Turn 4 on Lap 42. Staying out got Larson to the front, but his used tires were no match for the leaders that pitted under the second caution.
A cycle of green flag stops on Lap 95 allowed him an opportunity to stay in the Top-10, when it cycled out, but an uncontrolled tire penalty forced him to serve a pass through penalty and trapped him two laps down in 31st.
Larson was 30th when the caution flew for the conclusion of the first stage. With most of the field pitting under the caution, he took a wave-around, regained a lap and moved up to 26th.
Larson came a car short of the lucky dog when caution flew on Lap 154. While he was in position to get it at the end of the second stage, Harvick put more cars down a lap in the closing laps, a result of a long green flag run, and Larson remained trapped a lap down in 22nd.
He got back on the lead lap when Kyle Busch suffered an engine failure with 129 to go and worked his way up to 15th when rain put the field under the red flag with 84 to go.
Larson restarted 10th with 75 to go. In the final 50 laps, however, the handling of his car went towards the freeside and fell out of the Top-10. He broke back into the Top-10 when Bowman made an unscheduled stop, and brought his car home to a 10th-place finish.
“Yeah, it was a hard-fought top 10 for sure,” Larson said. “We were three laps down at one point. I guess happy about the Top-10. I was hoping we could pick off some cars there that last run once we finally got on the lead lap, but it was just so hard to pass. Everybody was the same speed until the very end of the run and then you could kind of move around. Found a little bit of time and was catching a few of them in front of me, but just ran out of time.”
Larson’s 10th-place finish was his seventh Top-10 finish at Dover International Speedway, a track at which he maintains an 8.2 finishing average.
He leaves Dover 10th in points, 159 back of Kyle Busch.